We all have different people from history that we admire, or look to for inspiration when we are having a rubbish day in the office and the rain is beating at the window like a heartbeat.
So who would yours be?
As a kid I was pretty uncool. Now I might be looked at as a little individual at that age, a little bit alternative and very studious, but then I was the geek in the glasses. Nose buried in a book, I could pretty much tell you anything about the Little Women or characters from To Kill a Mockingbird at a very young age, and my Grandfather used to make me learn poems by heart. To this day I can still recite a weird little poem about a bird that lays its eggs in a paper bag to keep the rain out. Its my party trick . And I was opinionated. I still am, in fact.
So when I think about the person from history that I would go back and be, there is no question.
Ann Boleyn (bear with me on this one).
Ann Boleyn was a bad ass.
Sure, she eventually got her head cut off for alleged incest and adultery that it is now refuted that she was innocent of, but she is documented to have been a clever and quick witted girl, remarkable and with a vast political acumen for her age and sex given the time.
She watched the court before her and saw her sister become the mistress of the King, producing a child sworn as illegitimate, and when the King cast his eye on her, she saw her chance to do things a little differently, and have a massive influence of the running of the country. So she let him woo her, but vowed that she would be his partner only in the bedroom once she was the rightful Queen of England.
Henry the Eighth then invented divorce, divorced his Queen and married her, and she spent her three years on the throne having a massive influence over relations between Tudor England and the rest of Europe, smoothing over relationships that Henry had destroyed and setting the president for the way the country was, and still is, governed.
Her reputation for being quick witted and ‘with forward manners’ was fine as the mistress to the King, but as Queen was frowned upon. So she wasn’t meek and mild, and stood up for what she believed in, and that’s why I love her. She didn’t care that she didn’t live in a time where she was expected to accept the will of the men around her, but strove to protect her ladies in waiting and improve conditions for all those in her staff. Quite frankly, if she was born another 500 years later she would be heralded as unique and ahead of her time, and she was. Just a bit far ahead.
Ann Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower of London in May 1536 at just thirty years old, but what a life she led.
So, I would be the second Queen of Henry VIII. But the Jonathan Rhys Meyer version, just so we are clear.